The Settsu-Genji (摂津源氏)

The Settsu-Genji (a branch of the Minamoto clan)

The bloodline of the Settsu-Genji

MINAMOTO no Yorimitsu--the son of MINAMOTO no Mitsunaka, founding father of the Minamoto clan warrior group--inherited the family's power base of Tada in Kawabe County of Settsu Province (modern-day Tada in Kawanishi City of Hyogo Prefecture), and was appointed the Ouchi shugo ("Protector of the Great Palace," in charge of guarding the Imperial Palace and the Emperor).

The Settsu-Genji were for a time the only warriors active in the Heian capital (today's Kyoto) and had ample opportunity to serve the nobility in their daily affairs, spurring the warriors to begin excelling more and more at literature and at composing waka poetry.

Although MINAMOTO no Yorimitsu inherited his family territory that had been passed down through generations since Mitsunaka, the principal members of the Minamoto clan, including Yorimitsu's younger brother MINAMOTO no Yorinobu, expanded their power in eastern Japan, marrying into the Kawachi-Genji clan, which served as the leader of all warriors in Japan, and thereby bringing prosperity to their descendants. All the later seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") came exclusively from the Kawachi-Genji.

MINAMOTO no Yorimasa and MINAMOTO no Yukitsuna

In addition to MINAMOTO no Yorimitsu himself, the most famous warriors of the Settsu-Genji included MINAMOTO no Nakamasa and his sons, as well as MINAMOTO no Yorimasa, the only senior member of the family to survive the Heiji War. Yorimasa took as followers the Watanabe clan, who belonged to the Saga-Genji--Takiguchi warriors--and whose stronghold was in Watanabetsu in Settsu Province (in modern-day Chuo ward, Osaka City). He, like his father Nakamasa, adopted the sobriquet Baba clan.

Each generation of the Settsu-Genji--whose bloodline combined those of both Mitsunaka and Yorimitsu, who were called 'Protectors of the Imperial Family'--was appointed Ouchi shugo (Protector of the Great Palace).
(They were tasked with guarding the Imperial Court, and were a precursor of sorts to the later Imperial Guard Corps.)

One member of the Settsu-Genji lineage, in their ancestral seat of Tada, gained particular notoriety: Yukitsuna TADA (MINAMOTO no Yukitsuna), who betrayed the Shishigatani conspiracy. During the Genpei War (the war between the Minamoto and the Taira clans), Yukitsuna was active as the leader of the Tada-Genji, who formed a part of MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune's army. Because of his service with Yoshitsune, Yukitsuna was later shunned by MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, and his territory in Tada was eventually confiscated.

Other notable details concerning the Settsu-Genji

On the grounds of Mangan-ji Temple in Kawanishi City in Hyogo Prefecture, there is a memorial tower dedicated to seven warriors of the Settsu-Genji: MINAMOTO no Kunifusa, MINAMOTO no Mitsukuni, MINAMOTO no Akikuni, MINAMOTO no Nakamasa, MINAMOTO no Kuninao, MINAMOTO no Yukikuni, and MINAMOTO no Kunimoto.

Some have criticized the viewpoint that the Settsu-Genji are the primary and eldest lineage of the Minamoto, arguing that 'While it may be tempting to list 'successive generations' as main lineage of the Settsu-Genji or main lineage of the Tada-Genji, no such conception of lineage for the Genji main line or the Settsu or Tada main lines really existed at that time.'

[Original Japanese]